7. Stakeholder participation
Why should stakeholders participate?
Early and effective stakeholder participation is a fundamental aspect of the ecosystem approach and is a legal requirement under the MSFD, as well as the CBD, Aarhus Convention and OSPAR’s North-East Atlantic Environment Strategy.
Under each step, this guide has identified examples of how stakeholders can support implementation of the MSFD in the Celtic Sea project area, including:
- Supporting assessment and monitoring: for example, contributing to the programme design; collecting, providing and validating data; supporting data analysis and interpretation; and collaborating on joint-data collection.
- Implementing voluntary measures in sectors to help meet policy targets, encouraging others to do so, and highlighting these efforts to government.
- Helping to identify, develop, test and evaluate measures, improving the quality of marine strategies, and helping government meet targets while minimising costs.
- Providing evidence to support over-riding public interest and disproportionate cost arguments (e.g. the distribution of costs and benefits), and on how to ensure sustainable development requirements are met.
The benefits of participation to stakeholders are likely to include a reduced regulatory burden, more certainty for investment, fairer and more affordable measures, and increased commercial opportunities. In turn, this will reduce costs for governments and benefit wider society by increasing the likelihood of achieving environmental targets.